Red Bull Air Race hits Kazan

Red Bull Air Race World Championship is about to hit its fifth stop in the sunny city of Kazan, one of the major sports regions of Russia.  After last season’s tremendous debut in this brand-new race venue, the fifth stop of the competition comes back here – bringing together top pilots and their teams.

Red Bull Air Race features lightweight planes hitting the speeds of 370 km/h, enduring forces of up to 12G – all above some truly magnificent views of the world. The aircrafts navigate along low-level slalom tracks between 25-meter high pylons. This year the organisers in Kazan have changed the flying route – so the pilots will have to get used to it all over again. This sounds particularly promising in the light of last year’s record – the planes hit the pylons above Kazanka river 67 times, which is an absolute maximum in the history of sport.


The competition in Kazan kick-starts the second half of the eight-race calendar, with 14 pilots from 10 countries fighting for the global title. While it was USA’s Michael Goulian who showed enough skill for the Russian podium last year, the reigning world champion Yoshihide Muroya from Japan is expected to cling hard to his chance of repeating his triumph in the overall season.

Meanwhile, it’s Australia’s Matt Hall who tops the table in the moment with only two points ahead of Goulian. Looks like Hall will have a hard time securing his position as last year’s vice-champion, Czech Martin Šonka, is just behind the American. He is closely followed by French Mika Brageot, who has made an astonishing breakthrough this year.

Finally, we’re expecting to see the world champion from 2016 and 2006 Matthias Dolderer of Germany and last year’s Kazan winner Kirby Chambliss from the USA arguing to claim back their positions at the top.

Now that I have made this overview of the R ed Bull Air Race for you, I have to confess that this is my first-ever air race, both in terms of watching and working at events. The atmosphere reminds me of my job back at Extreme Sailing Series 2015 in Saint Petersburg. The sun is shining bright above the river, overlooked by the glass windows of our spacious media center; everyone is very friendly, and most people seem to know each other. We have a stunning view of Kazan Kremlin and all the historical buildings on the shore, the temperature’s reaching 23 degrees, and we have an unlimited supply of Tatar national sweet chak-chak here – what more can one ask for?

And this has been Day -1 of the racing weekend, so stay tuned for more notes from me!


Last days of World Cup

Having less then a week to go before the finals, I have finally been able to set myself down to write this post. This months has been quite challenging for all of us, with long hours spent in and out of the venues, roaming between three host cities, and so on. As much as I love the atmosphere of World Cup, I’m quite happy there isn’t much left – and I’m really looking forward to more events in the future, once I get to rest a little!

By the time I’m writing this post, there are only three games left to be played in Moscow and St. Petersbourg. Team Russia has dropped out in 1/4, losing the penalty series to Croatia, and the whole country has literally drowned in the bittersweet sorrow of this honourable, yet painful loss. It’s been no secret that prior to the tournament our national team received very little credit from its fans. Barely anyone believed we’ll make it past the group round, and once we did, we were all prepared to lose it to Spain in 1/8. The day Russia won over Spain, July 1, will probably remain in our football history forever. It was as if we had just won a war: the traffic across the whole city center was stopped; everyone was walking around singing our national anthem, and Russian folk songs, and rhymes to our goalkeeper’s name (“Hey, hey, Igor-Igor Akinfey!”). It was mad. We got off the metro next to the Cremlin, and we walked along the newly-famous Nikolskaya street where most of the wilderness was going, and we crossed the Red Square, and we walked and walked and there were people all around us, in the dead of night, holding out Russian flags, screaming, singing, dancing, hugging each other. I’ve never seen my city like that; I hope I will – some day.


We were there, at the bottom of Luzhniki stadium, seeing the penalty series from the tunnel. Luckily or not, we didn’t witness the match against Croatia in Sochi, as we were out filming in Kazan. We watched the rest of the game once we landed back in Moscow. The miracle of getting through to the semi-finals seemed just a breath away – but it never happened, for the Croatian team scored the penalty that neither our striker Fyodor Smolov, nor the right-back Mario Fernandes could make up for. Neither worked the wonder-foot of our goalie Igor Akinfeev, the foot that had literally become a meme within the Russian network after Igor’s unbelievable saves against the Spanish team. Our team lost – but lost in such a battle that no one was there to blame them, and in the next few days all our social networks were hyped with #thankyouteam posts.

Does it all mean the revival of football in Russia? Only time will tell. The memory of Russia’s bronze in Euro 2008, which resulted in no further progress to follow, is still fresh in our minds. Our team has done much better than we all had expected. Still, it goes without saying that our football is far from being as strong, beautiful and entertaining as we’d wish it to be. Needless to say we’d rather re-watch Belgium vs Brazil than Russia vs Spain, wouldn’t we? Because – beauty, dynamics, strength. It’s something that our football often lacks. Will we see a different picture in the next few years, now that the team believes in itself all over again, once we all believe in it? We’ll see.

With three games to go, I sincerely wish to see England in the final match, as it’s the last of my home countries, or at least so I would call it, to go this far. And, well, since they’re playing Croatia, I’d like to see them revenge for us – I can be a little patriotic here, can’t I?

It’s all about to end – so let’s enjoy the last few days we’ve got, and let the strongest win!

Does being young make me less professional?

Some time ago, when I was starting out on my career path, I studied numerous articles on writing a perfect CV. Quite a few times I came across a suggestion that one shouldn’t mention his/her age on CV. Supposedly stating your age is – here comes the quote – “almost inviting age discrimination”. Supposedly being too young can put potential employers off hiring you regardless of your experience and skills.

Now, here’s my answer to this.

I do not have my date of birth on my CV, but I have no shame in mentioning that I’m of year 1995. My age is stated on the main page of my website. Should my future employers mistrust me as a candidate solely because I am too young – so be it.

I believe that my age in relation to my professional background says far more about my time management skills, work efficiency and intellectual abilities than my CV alone. I am, in fact, proud of the fact that I am only 23. Certainly I do not think I have done more, or better than others, but I am fairly satisfied with how I’ve been spending my time up till now.

I have just turned 23.

I have a Masters degree in Television journalism, which I finished with distinction last year.

My total professional experience in media and events – internships, projects and permanent work altogether – accounts for over 4 years.

I had my first TV sports news feature broadcast nationwide when I was 19.

I have done reporting, coordinating, producing, SMM.

I have worked at numerous international sports events such as Olympics, European Games, Asian Games, Confederation Cup. This year I could choose which offer for the World Cup suited me best.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not listing all of this here to emphasise my achievements. In fact, I feel like I’m living a life of a typical millennial/generation Z – I’m just using my own example to illustrate the issue that I myself and some people that I know have faced.

The situation is changing; luckily, more and more companies reconsider their approach to hiring younger employees. However, I wouldn’t have raised this issue in the first place, had I not encountered this problem in my career.

Last year I was aiming for a job within an international sports organisation. I applied for a position through a common job board and soon received an invitation for an interview. I passed the interview stage, completed a test assignment and then got through to the third round.

Supposedly, only two candidates got through to the final interview. It was held over Skype. All of a sudden my interviewers tell me something like this:

“We see by your CV that you have recently finished your studies. So we assume you haven’t had much time to gain experience working in the media. Are we right?”

The question “What the hell are you talking about” almost slipped from my mouth. I had been working in professional media along with my studies since I was 18, and I don’t mind explaining how it worked out. But – on the third round interview? Hadn’t they seen my CV? Hadn’t they clicked on the link to my showreel with me presenting on TV, in two languages? Links to the articles I’ve published?

Yes, I may have less experience in marketing, which was important for the position – but they had seen my test assignment, I had spent two days completing it, they liked it and they accepted me for the final round. Why question my whole level of proficiency in the industry when you’ve seen my career history supported by evidence?

I did not get the job. Nor did they bother notifying me about the result, despite having only two candidates to inform – one “You’re hired” and one “We’re sorry” to send out. I felt irritated, as I really wanted the job, and I actually put my heart into that test assignment. I would have appreciated them at least thanking me for my time. Now I know it’s for the best I didn’t get to wok for company that treats people like that. I know the issue with them was not just about age, but more about working ethics in general, but I have a feeling that they might have treated me differently, had they seen me as a real professional.

Quite a lot of my friends have gained sufficient professional experience by their early twenties, and still I hear some of them complain they are not seen as seriously as they should, particularly those involved in managerial positions.

What’s your view on the subject? Do you feel that younger professionals still come across age discrimination? Does it only apply to certain specialisations or companies?

Live on BBC World News

This week I’ve had one of the most thrilling experiences in my career – I was live on BBC World News! I was invited to their Red Square studio after participating in BBC World News radio programme. I thought I was nervous going live on radio – well, it doesn’t even come close to what I felt this time. My very first live TV broadcast from studio – happening to be on BBC World News, exposed to all BBC viewers across the globe! Needless to say the butterflies in my stomach made me tremble and stumble all the way – luckily not too much, so the general impression of my debut was fine, I suppose. What makes me particularly annoyed is the vividness of my accent, which I can’t control that well in the moments of stress. I still feel quite happy about it.

I have had a chance to share my thoughts on the Russian national team, Team Japan and Team England’s recent victory – three countries I call my home, competing in the biggest football tournament on the Earth, taking place on the ground of my roots. Something to remember!

Saransk aftermath

Our last day in Saransk left us with a pleasant aftertaste. Despite all the issues we had during our stay, the whole 8K operation ran smoothly. On June 19th Japan played Colombia, which made this clash a match of an extra importance, as the transmission was being showcased to a massive audience at two 8K Super Hi-Vision theatres back in Japan. The highlight of the day for our Japanese team, was obviously, the triumphant 2:1 victory of their national team – which literally no one had actually expected.

As we found out from our colleagues, it was the first time in the history when Team Japan managed to beat a Latin American team. One of our Japanese producers had even placed a bet on Colombia winning 3:0, so I’m guessing his joy had a bittersweet flavour.

I managed to watch the second half in the stadium, and I must admit it was a really dynamic, interesting game, which I enjoyed more than the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia. The Japanese really deserved it.




Mordovia Arena was bursting with the yellow colour, stuffed with Colombian fans all wearing their national team’s T-shirts. They outnumbered the Japanese fans by far, and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for them witnessing their loss. They left the arena in the same quiet pensiveness as their fellow Peruvians two days before.




I myself was cheering on Japan of course – after all, it’s my second home country. But what really made my day was the Russian national team winning 3:1 against Egypt later in the day, guaranteeing itself their spot in the 1/8 stage of World Cup 2018. Considering that almost half of the football fans across Russia had believed that our team wouldn’t make it out of the group stage, no wonder the whole country went mad that night.

We were watching the game in a nice bar called “Big Pig” in the heart of Saransk, the only place we found in town that served amazingly delicious food – if you’re ever in Saransk (life can be pretty random, can’t it?), do check it out.  I really appreciated all the Japanese fans, which flooded the bar that night, screaming “Rosh-shi-ya! Rosh-shi-ya!” celebrating each goal of our team.




Another highlight of the day was the Mordovian museum of Arts, which is working 09.00-24.00 on each match day. Again – if you’re ever in Saransk, particularly now that World Cup is on (and there are two more games coming up there), do see the museum. Mordovian contemporary art hall showcases some stunning paintings, and there is a fascinating exhibition of wooden sculptures by a local artist Erzya. It leaves an impression of something very pure, very much down to the roots of the local ethnicity, empowered by the beauty of nature. Or am I being too sentimental here?



At the moment we’re back to Moscow, awaiting Belgium vs Tunisia clash at Spartak Stadium. Saransk hasn’t been bad, but I have to admit that it was a little challenging,  so we’re all extremely happy to be back. Thank you, the city of foxes!